RIFLE, Colo. (CBS4) – Video of an officer-involved shooting obtained Wednesday by CBS4 shows at least one Rifle police officer shooting a 57-year-old man twice in the back as he was jogging away from police. That man was Allan George, of Rifle, and he died soon after the shooting, which took place on Aug. 5.
“What I see in that video is first degree murder,” said David Lane, a Denver attorney representing the family of Allan George. “He was 20 to 30 feet away and they gunned him down like a dog in the streets.”
Law enforcement officials said police had an active arrest warrant for George for sexual exploitation of a child and pulled him over on Highway 13 over the Colorado River in the early evening hours.
The video, recorded by a bystander, shows George holding a gun to his chest as he talks to a Rifle police officer. In the video, George appears to be standing on a precipice and indicates that he might jump from the bridge. Although much of the audio cannot be understood, one of the police officers can be heard twice telling George to “put the gun down.”
George eventually puts the pistol in his pocket, but as the video winds down, George steps over a highway barricade on to the road and begins jogging away from the police officers and toward the town of Rifle. An officer can be seen chasing George and two gunshots are heard. George crumples to the pavement and was later pronounced dead.
“This is an unlawful killing,” Lane said. “There was no reason for this shooting.”
A critical incident team and the district attorney are investigating what occurred. In a statement released after the shooting, the CIT wrote:
“The suspect was originally stopped on an active warrant. He surfaced with a weapon in hand. Officers confronted him. The suspect would not comply with directives. For the health, safety and welfare of the general public as well as the officers present, shots were fired.”
Two officers have been on leave since the shooting. Both the chief of police in Rifle and the district attorney did not return calls from CBS4 about the shooting.
George’s autopsy report confirmed he was shot twice in the back. The report also showed he had no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of the shooting.
Colorado criminal records show George was arrested in 2008 for sexual exploitation of a child. That case was dismissed after he completed four years of probation.
Raj Chohan, a former prosecutor in Weld County, reviewed the CBS4 videotape and concluded while the video looks bad, the officer who shot George will likely be cleared of any wrongdoing.
Chohan noted that George had been acting erratically, was armed, and his actions might justify the gunfire.
“An officer had a person who was armed and dangerous running down the street and would not stop. In that situation the officer was probably justified in using deadly force. A person like that running down the street was almost certainly a danger to other people who are around,” Chohan said.
Lane told CBS4 that if the Rifle officer is cleared, he will likely ask the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the case. He is also planning to file a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of George’s family.